Wednesday, November 26, 2008

APRS Travel Season

The Travel seasons are upon us. Is your local APRS network ready to serve travelers? Is your network properly configured for new-N? See

Is your network providing the local recommended FREQ object for travelers passing through? (see Are you monitoring that voice repeater to help fellow travelers?

While traveling do you have Voice Alert enabled and the volume up? See

Is your local IRLP/Echolink node showing up on APRS in the simplex range where it can be used? See

Are you configured to receive messages? Do you know how to send email from your mobile? See

Does your Beacon contain your typical monitoring voice frequency?

Is your channel quiet more than half the time? It should be for best reliability. In fact, it should be quiet more than 2/3rds of the time. If not, your network is overloaded. See Spend 30 minutes monitoring your local channel looking at PATHS. Is everyone using an appropriate path and rate?

Get out your radio. Communicate. Let APRS help you get "connected"...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PNWVHF - a fellow Amateur Radio group worth supporting.

While I've been following the PNWVHF Email reflector for some time it wasn't until I attended their annual gathering in Moses Lake that I learned just what a good group it was. Lots of support for on the air operation and activities, new modes, modern technology and just plain socializing... PNWVHF is also very closely related to NWAPRS in the Amateur Frequencies used so it's to our mutual advantage that both organizations be strong and well supported. Best of all, the PNWVHF lifetime membership fee is even cheaper then the NWAPRS dues.. Only $10 one time - that's about the same as Starbucks for two. It even includes a nifty membership certificate and membership number. They just passed number 400 - wouldn't it be neat if NWAPRS could bring this up to 500?

Click here for the PNWVHF website.

In these days of diminishing Amateur Radio activity it's more important then ever to support our fellow groups and projects.. I hope others on the list will join me in backing both the regional
groups like NWAPRS and PNWVHS as well as local clubs. Even if there isn't time to participate fully, a few nickels and the call on the membership list can mean a lot.

Bill - WA7NWP

PS. I'm also happy to support the Capital Peak Repeater group due to their support of APRS and the 96UHF network..

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Voice Alert Summary

A good summarization of Voice Alert as posted by Joseph/NE3R on APRSSIG...


I've come across a lot of hams who don't have a good understanding of APRS Voice Alert. While Bob Bruninga, WB4APR explains it well on his voice alert page, I'll try to explain it in just a few lines.

Voice alert is essentially adding a 100hz CTCSS tone to the transmitted APRS packets on 144.39 (US), just set the tone as if you needed it to access the repeater and setting the radio to tone squelch (CT on the D700) and leaving the volume on the data channel up. When a packet is received with the 100hz tone, you'll hear it on the radio, and you should also see the call on whatever APRS display you are using. The radio will still decode packets that don't have the 100hz tone, you just won't hear them. This works with most rigs/tncs that don't rely on the speaker output to feed audio to the TNC.

The full details can be found:

Even hams that don't use APRS can take advantage of voice alert, just listen to 144.39 with your tone squelch set to 100hz. When an APRS mobile is in the area, you'll hear them, and you can give a general call for APRS voice alert stations.

Once contact is made on the voice alert channel, the conversation should be moved to another frequency to keep the channel clear for packets, and to keep the packets from crashing your QSO.

One thing that makes voice alert less useful is when the tone is transmitted with the packet, but nobody is listening (unattended, volume down, etc). That is one disadvantage to the D710, it isn't as easy to turn off voice alert once you have it on, which leads to folks just turning down the volume.

I hope this helps spread the word regarding APRS voice alert.

Thanks & 73 de Joseph Durnal NE3R

Friday, July 25, 2008

BigRedBee announces integrated APRS and GPS

BigRedBee, LLC is pleased to announce the world's smallest, completely integrated 5 watt 2 meter APRS/GPS transmitter.

Features include a frequency agile 2 meter RF transmitter (144 - 148Mhz), integrated SiRF star III GPS with patch antenna and 5 watts of RF power output. All on a single board measuring less than 1 1/4 x 3 3/4inches.

The high sensitivity 20 channel WAAS capable SiRFstar III GPS allows operation in areas where GPS reception is troublesome, including"urban canyons", wooded areas, even inside buildings.

Nonvolatile on-board memory stores more than 1000 waypoints at a user selectable rate which can be downloaded as a .kml file viewable via Google Earth.

An integrated voltage regulator allows direct connection to anautomobile (or any unregulated 12V) power source For truly portable operation, you may also provide power (4-9 volts) via (2)lithium-poly (7.4v) or (6) alkaline batteries (9.6v).

The transmitter supports fixed beacon rates, time slotting and SmartBeaconing (TM) for dynamic transmission rates based on speed and heading. For periodic operation, the GPS power may be powered downresulting in longer battery life.

For "high flying" projects, Trimble's Lassen IQ GPS module is also available for an additional cost, allowing battery powered operation above 18,000 meters.

Just plug in your SMA antenna and 12V power supply and you are on the air!



A BeeLine GPS 2MHP package deal is available for just $275, which includes a water resistant plastic case, automotive (cigarette lighter) power adapter and an RS-232 serial programming interface.

RF transmit antenna and batteries are not included.



The BeeLine 2MHPGPS is available now, but built to order. Please visit for more information including detailed pricing and ordering information.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Publish Hamfests with APRS (updated)

Come on APRS!

Surely we can put HAMFEST objects on the map to help alert and remind our fellow hams of such important upcoming events! I just checked, and not a single HFEST is showing. There is one HAMFEST object, but it is in New Zealand!

Please use this format for the name of your HAMFEST object:


Use the "\h" symbol which is a bright red object...

This not only makes them stand out on the map, but also includes the DATE (dd) in the object name to make it clear this is a future object. The "x" on the end makes it unique so that FINDU
can find them all:*

For details of this format, see the LOCAL INFO page about 30% down the slider:

It's the season, lets show what APRS can do...



APRS EVENTS application for generating this info... Thanks to Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf


The application, APRS Events, is available from M0CYP's UI-View add-on pages

It actually doesn't depend on UI-View or it's settings at all. It is a standalone application that uses the AGW Packet Engine as an interface to access one or more TNCs. You specify a callsign and path completely independently of UI-View.

Currently at my station, AGWpe is arbitrating access to both the HF and VHF ports of a classic original KAM, and access to a second KPC3+. It allows 4 copies of UI-View, UI-Traffic Monitor, UI-Network Analysis and APRS Events to access/share both TNCs.

APRS Events is controlled by a text file "APRSevents.csv" that contains lines like these (these are single lines that may wrap in email):

#2008-07-11 15:05:00#,#2008-07-12 10:00:00#,"Inland Empire ARC Swapmeeet 8AM Sat - Cable Airport in Upland",28

#2008-07-21 15:05:00#,#2008-07-22 21:00:00#,"Pasadena ARC Meeting 7:00 PM Tuesday at Kaiser in Pasadena",28

#2008-07-25 15:05:00#,#2008-07-26 10:00:00#,"TRW Swapmeet Saturday 8:00 AM Manhattan Beach",28

The final set of digits is the repetition rate in minutes. I purposely set the rep rate slightly faster than 30 minutes so that if my "half-hourly" beacons happened to coincide with someone else's, the beacons would gradually drift out of phase over time.
The application has a fill-in template to add events, but the user interface is so clumsy and erratic when it comes to editing existing events that I find it easier to edit the .CSV file directly outside of UI Events. (On most Windows systems with MS Office installed, double-clicking the APRSevents.csv file makes it open in an Excel spreadsheet where it is neatly columnated and easy to edit. )

The application is hardwired to transmit in bulletin format. (I wish it could transmit objects as well -- perhaps in a future revision it will). It stores it's own path and originating callsign independent of any other application using AGWpe.

I have set a single-hop path using the actual callsign of a single digipeater (N6EX-1) that covers the area of interest (the San Gabriel Valley -- the area between 5 and 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles that includes Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte, etc). This avoids setting off 4 or 5 digipeaters all over the greater Los Angeles basin simultaneously with the generic WIDE2-2 path normally used around here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

APRS Symbols - current list

The complete symbol set (and the codes that create them) is here:


Other APRS resources by WA8LMF:

Thursday, June 12, 2008


In the "What's New and Cool" category comes this no-frills GPS for the Kenwood TM-D710. For about $100 you get this small module called a GPS-710 (that makes sense) that attaches behind the D-710. Two small cables attach to the GPS port and mic-in port on the radio control head. The mic then plugs into the GPS-710. Set-up seems very simple according to the provided directions. Here's the link to the web site with more info and photos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Best digi path for a mobile tracker?

It would be hard to beat this for a clear discussion:

> > > What is considered the best Digi path for a mobile tracker. Thanks
> >
> > What country?
> >
> Toronto, KS USA

"WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1" in Canada/US.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Robert Bruninga to APRSSIG @ TAPR

Don't forget, APRS can now do global CQ's.

Although we don't get any special points for FD, APRS still makes a great demo!

Show those old fuds how you can communicate any where in the world via APRS in real time!

CQ FD works via the centralized CQSRVR application written byAE5PL. Just send an APRS message TO CQSRVR and compose it likethis:

CQ FD CQ FD from .... Your info here.

And it will be delivered to all other stations that have sent a similar message. You will remain logged on for 12 hours since the last message you sent. Then as you see incoming such CQ's from other stations, you send them the usual APRS message to confirm the contact. See details on:

For clarity, you have to repeat the original CQ twice, since the first copy is stripped off by the CQSRVR. Operate APRS at Field Day like never before! To heck with the points! C U There!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tier 2 Regional Rotate APRS Servers

News from Tier 2 HQ...


Good morning from Tier 2 headquarters in sunny southern California! I would like to take this time to outline some important changes/enhancements to the APRS Tier 2 server network. The network has been quietly growing again in the past year. We now have 44 servers online in 19 different countries, and 8 more servers are currently under sea trials. A positive benefit to this growth has been the influx of great knowledge from the different sysops that has allowed us to make many enhancements to the network as well.

Most recently, there was a thread on the APRS SIG regarding rotate addresses [again]. Most of us at Tier 2 are still firm believers that if your client software allows you to set one or more server names manually, then you should always do that before utilizing a round-robin rotate address, but we also recognize that there are software packages that do not offer that. There are also folks who will always want the simple answer, and the rotate addresses to offer a simple, if not the most effective, connection option. The down sides of round-robin DNS are well documented, even on these lists, so I wont repeat them. However, we at Tier 2 recognized early on the desire for regional association with operations. Based on some recent threads, this seems
to also be true for rotate addresses. For some time now, has been available as a connection option to Tier 2. This address keeps a pool of no more than 22 of the Tier 2 servers (to accommodate some router firmware that will not parse more than 22) and automatically adjusts for servers that go offline. It is a fairly effective setup, but some clients have responded that they do not understand why their UI-View program running in Tuscaloosa is connected
to the APRS server in Thailand. While internet routing vs. political boundaries is an interesting study, suffice it to say that most clients will want to connect to something that makes regional sense. So for the past five months, our sysops have been working on and testing a regional rotate address system for Tier 2 that addresses many of these issues.

Based on the packet radio network routing names of several years past, we have broken down the world into five server regions, and have assigned servers to those five addresses in those regions. Again, based on the packet radio routing model, we have created the following five regional rotate addresses:

Information about which server is in which region, along with a map of the five server regions, can be found right on the Tier 2 home page There were two debates that ran for a long time in developing this scheme. First, there are often political questions when assigning various countries of the world to a region - most notably is the question of where Europe and Asia are separated. I can assure you that there was no political or nationalistic malice in choosing where servers were placed! Simple logic was employed. Secondly, it had been requested that we try to adhere to strict internet routing - i.e. have the client connect to the server that was closest in IP terms. Unfortunately, while that make very good technical sense, there really is no way to effectively trace and catalog the routes from each potential client to each of the servers. At any rate, this setup seems to be working well, and so it is time to roll it out. Again, I still believe you should be trying to use actual server addresses whenever possible, but if you are looking for a regional rotate address that makes more sense to you, you now have it!

We always welcome comments and suggestions. We serve the APRS-IS's 30,000 plus clients with an average of 1,850 at any given time. This is your network and we are happy to be the maintenance crew for it. Thanks again, and enjoy!

73, on behalf of the Tier 2 team.
Phil Pacier - AD6NH
Tier 2 Network Coordinator


Sunday, June 1, 2008

NWAPRS List Offline

The server hosting the website and mailing list was one of the 9000... I'm sure they're working as hard as possible and we'll be back ASAP.

Bill - WA7NWP

Texas-Based Server Provider Explosion Affects 9,000 Servers, 7,500 Customers:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vicinity tracking to Dayton with Findu

Where's K7GPS by vicinity tracking?

No GPS is needed. The location is picked from the first digipeater that heard the packet.

Bill - WA7NWP

If someone does not have a working GPS, they can still be approximately tracked to Dayton.

As long as they are transmitting some packet periodically, then you can use vicinity tracking to see at least what digi they are near. On FINDU, there is a great vicinity tracking feature. Just add "&vicinity=1" to the end of the normal FINDU.COM URL and it will plot the location of the digi that first heard the packet.

Here is an example:

That should plot the nearest digi that heard my last packet.

Using this feature, you can track things over large distances without having to power the GPS. Just flea power to a tiny PIC and transmitting a BEACON once every 30 minutes could last a year on a set of AA cells.

Good luck
Bob, WB4aPR

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Check out the features of the new Yaesu VX-8R HT, including APRS suppport, and due out this summer. Finally, some competition to the Kenwood D7A(G). Hopefully they will adapt APRS support to the FTM-10SR mobile radio I use on my motorcycle.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The 11th annual NWAPRS Summer Gathering will be held the weekend following Labor Day, September 5-7, 2008, at the usual spot, Valley Camp, in North Bend, Washington, 30 miles east of Seattle along I-90. This is our annual gathering of the minds and is open to everyone with an interest in APRS. There are lots of fun things to do besides the APRS presentations Saturday. Eating is one of them, shopping is another, enjoying the majestic beauty around Valley Camp is yet another. Lots more info on the web site, so please check it out and and come join us each September. David K7GPS

Monitoring Frequency in APRS Status Text

From an APRSSIG posting by Bob B.

> on my TinyTrack3.
> I was going to put in that I'm "Monitoring
> 146.520" and have that sent every 4th time.

Please consider putting it into the new APRS frequency format.
That is:

"146.52 MHz listening..."

By putting the freqeuncy as a FIXED field as the first 10 bytes of your position comment in the format "FFF.FFFMHz", then your frequency can be parsed. For example, the new Kenwoods have a TUNE button for one-button tuning to these frequencies.

Please see the web page on FREQUENCY:

Also please see the Tracker Manifesto:

You are doing the right thing by publishing in your tracker, the frequency that you are monitoring so that you can be contacted at any time. After all, the tracker is connected to a two-way radio, you may as well be listening for calls on its receiver...


Monday, May 12, 2008

First Post

And no Dear Google, this is not a spam blog. It will be used for real informative postings. Please see for our main home page.